In the year post COVID we have seen the demand for travel rise like never before. There’s friends and family to catch up with, bucket lists to tick off and savings to be spent. However, the rise in demand has also resulted in an expected but significant rise in the price of airfares, accommodation, and experiences.
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Travellers are looking for ways to cut costs where they can and one of these is to consider a low-cost airline for their long-haul travel. On the surface, the low-cost airline fare is attractive and affordable but what is the real cost of travelling long haul by the time you add food, water, bags and seats? Let’s not forget the comfort factor too – on a long-haul flight every extra inch of space makes a difference.
To answer this question, we are compiling a series of low cost vs full service airline comparisons on certain routes around the world. We will look at cost and comfort to determine if long haul low cost is really worth it.
Our first comparison looks at the total cost and on board experience flying low cost AirAsiaX or full service legacy carrier Malaysia Airlines. Our trip from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland will depart on August 28 and return on September 15th 2023.
Our flight with AirAsiaX came to 3854 MYR ($1305 AUD) with the inclusion of a meal and one small bottle of water on each flight leg, a standard window seat, 20kg of checked baggage and a 7kg carry on bag. Admittedly you would likely need to spend at least another 120 MYR ($40 AUD) to purchase extra drinks and snacks, but for this exercise we left that out. This airline offers no in flight entertainment or seat back power to recharge your device.
Our flight with Malaysia Airlines came in at 5174 MYR ($1753) which included meals, snacks, unlimited drinks, in flight entertainment, amenities, 20kg baggage and a 7kg carry on bag.
With a 1320 MYR ($448 AUD) difference in the fares the question of ‘which is better’ really comes down to where the traveller places value.
For the author (who is admittedly a tired mother to two babies), the thought of a direct flight with a little extra seat width, more seat recline, unlimited beverages, meals and snacks, a seat back screen for in-flight entertainment and a cosy blanket and pillow makes the extra cost worthwhile.
However, when discussing this with my 18 year old niece, the value for her is placed on the saving she can make flying long haul, low cost. For her, she can easily go without the comforts and endure the longer flight time to have that extra money in her pocket to spend at the destination.